It may be a dog-eat-dog world, but that doesn’t give your canine any reason to bare their teeth at the mere sight of another dog.
Dog aggression is a serious problem, and while you may not be able to make your dog like other dogs, there are certainly things you can do to help them moderate their inappropriate, antisocial behaviour.
Why does my dog hate other dogs?
Dogs will typically react aggressively towards other dogs for two reasons, fear, or they believe the other dog represents a threat. Your dog may perceive a threat to their status or safety, or they may even be protecting you against an apparent threat. In most cases dog aggression is a result of inadequate socialisation or a traumatic incident that has occurred in their past.
Signs your dog dislikes other dogs
- growling, snarling or barking
- baring their teeth
- staring directly at another dog
- raised hackles
- ears pointing forward
- stiff tail
- pulling or lunging on the lead
Management and treatment
If your dog’s behaviour is problematic to the point that it’s dangerous, it’s imperative that you seek help from an animal behaviourist or your vet.
However, if their behaviour is milder, you may like to try getting your dog used to being around other dogs through positive association and desensitisation. This involves gradually exposing your dog to other dogs, and associating the exposure with positive feedback – like a treat.
Recommended Dog Treats
When modifying any behaviour it’s best to start small and work your way up. For instance, try desensitising your dog to a dog they are already familiar with. It’s important to make sure both animals are always safe, so keep them on a leash and at a safe distance from one another. Avoid punishing your dog if they act out, as they will associate any negativity with the other dog’s presence. Instead simply cease praising them and ignore them. Over time you will be able to build up your dog’s tolerance with less familiar dogs. Remember that this process takes a lot of time and effort on your part, and will probably require the help of a skilled trainer.
Tip: It’s worth considering getting your dog neutered if they are male and haven’t been desexed, as this can help decrease aggressive behaviour.